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Caerlaverock Wildfowl and
Wetlands Centre

Dumfriesshire, Scotland

Location Guide

Most famous of all Caerlaverock’s wild visitors are the vast flocks of Barnacle Geese that return each October from the High Arctic archipelago of Svalbard to stay until April on the Solway’s saltflats and merses. Since the 1940’s, this population has recovered from fewer than 500 birds to more than 25,000. It  is set amidst a wealth of beautiful scenery, dominated by the 2,000-foot granite mass of Criffel to the west, with the mountains of the English Lake District across the Solway Firth to the south and, to the north, the rolling Moffat and Lowther Hills.

Some things to do:

  • Barnacle Geese wildlife spectacular (October - April)

  • Wild Whooper Swan spectacular (October - April)

  • See Ospreys and CCTV pictures from their nest  (April-August)

  • Watch Barn Owls in and around their nest via CCTV (March-August)

  • Try to spot the rarest amphibian in Britain

  • Saltcot Merse Observatory

  • Use the largest binoculars in Scotland!

  • Take an adventure on a wildlife safari

  • Visit intimate hides installed by Sir Peter Scott

  • See the rare Tadpole Shrimp

Wild Whopper Swans fed daily at 11am and 2pm (October - April).

This is simply a must for any lover of birds and their wild habitats. On-site accommodation is also available.

It offers a 1,400-acre wild nature reserve with hides and observation towers linked by network of screened approaches and seasonal nature trails.  It also has a visitor building with Fair Trade coffee shop, natural history bookshop and binoculars and telescopes for sale. Binoculars for hire. Theatre/conference room. Sheltered picnic area. Self-catering farmhouse accommodation and camping.

Best Times to Visit

Caerlaverock Wetland Centre is a wild day out all year round! Every season brings fresh fascination. 

Spring brings migrating songbirds from the tropics, as the geese and swans begin to head north. Follow the Swan Saga discovery trail or come to a late-night event to hear Britain’s rarest amphibian concert.

Summer sees the hay meadows, bright with wild flowers. Dragonflies dance and sparkle over shaded pools whilst Otters haunt the river bank. Join evening events to watch Badgers or to see Barn Owls feeding their chicks via cctv.

Autumn heralds the start of the swan and geese spectaculars that follow through to the Spring. Thousands of Barnacle Geese arrive from the High Arctic, filling the air with their urgent calls. Whooper swans fly in from Iceland and bring their cygnets to feast on barley from the wardens’ barrows. See the swan feeds that take place every morning and afternoon.

Winter welcomes Short-eared Owls which hunt over the merses, together with Peregrines, Merlins and the rare Hen Harrier. The 25,000 Barnacles are joined by Pink-footed Geese from Iceland and Greenland as well as the Greylag's Come to a special dawn event to watch the morning flight.

Further information Grid



Caerlaverock WWT, Dumfriesshire, Scotland

Ceremonial County: Dumfriesshire

Grid Reference:


Map Link:


Aerial photo: Aerial Photo



Best Times to Visit:

Any time of year, different times will see different wildlife visitors. More activities for children available during the summer months and school holidays.





Other useful websites:


Nearby Locations:  
Other Relevant pages:  


Planning Grid


Caerlaverock WWT, Dumfriesshire, Scotland

Grid Reference:


Getting there:

9 miles south east of Dumfries. Follow tourist signs from A75 west of Annan or St. Michael's church in Dumfries. Nearest railway and coach stations Dumfries; limited bus service to Caerlaverock.




Free large car park.


Visitor building with Fair Trade coffee shop, natural history bookshop and binoculars and telescopes for sale. Binoculars for hire. Theatre/conference room. Sheltered picnic area. Self-catering farmhouse accommodation and camping.

Things To Do, See and Photograph:

Wetland wildlife, butterflies, wild flowers, buildings, reed beds and other activities.

What to take:

Telescope, binoculars, long lenses for when in hides, polarizer may be useful on sunny days when doing wider views. During winter months wrap up warm most of the site is outdoors.

Nature highlights:

Whooper Swans (winter months), Waders, Raptors, Hares, Wildfowl, butterflies, dragonflies and wild flowers.


WWT Caerlaverock

Eastpark Farm







01387 770200

Opening times:

Open daily except Christmas Day from 10am-5pm with occasional early and late opening for special wild events.


Free to WWT Members

Adult £6.70; Concession (Students, Senior Citizens) £5.05; Child (4-16) £3.30; Family Ticket £18. Essential helpers assisting disabled visitors: Free

There are also special Group Admission Prices and Gift Aid prices.

Photo Restrictions:

Commercial and stock photography must be agreed in advance and is subject to a fee.

Other Restrictions: Keep to the paths at all times.
Special Needs Access:  
Special Needs Facilities: Most facilities suitable, but call for further info and advice.
Children Facilities: During weekends and school holidays activities are put on for the younger visitor. Baby changing facilities.
Dogs Allowed: Dogs are not allowed in WWT Centres except guide/trained assistant dogs by prior arrangement.

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By: Tracey Park Section: Wildlife Key:
Page Ref: caerlaverorck_WWT Topic: Wildfowl & Wetland Spaces  Last Updated: 03/2010


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